Housing Element

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City of San Luis Obispo's Housing Element

The Housing Element is an element of the City’s General Plan and is the only element that must be updated on a set schedule and then certified by the State. The City does not construct housing but is required by the State to plan to demonstrate that it can accommodate a specific number of units that meet specific income categories within a specific time frame – our Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).

*New* 2020 Draft Housing Element Update Available for Public Review

The 2020 Draft Housing Element Update and the Negative Declaration of Environmental Review is now available for review.  

Advisory Body Review

  • July 22, 2020 at 6 pm - Review of the Draft Housing Element (coming soon)

Housing Element Update

The City is starting a new Housing Element update, which is due for completion by December 2020. The update process is a tool to modify housing policies and programs to reflect the changing needs, resources and conditions in the community, and to respond to changes in state and federal housing law.

Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) – 6th Cycle, 2020-2028

  • RHNA is produced by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and identifies the projected housing needs in the region as part of the periodic updating of local Housing Elements of the General Plan.
  • The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) is responsible for working with the State mandated RHNA and distributing the allocation between the cities and the unincorporated county.
  • HCD finalized its RHNA allocation determination for the San Luis Obispo region at 10,810 units for the 10-year production period (December 31, 2018 to December 31, 2028).
  • The number of housing units allocated to San Luis Obispo has been identified as 3,354.
  • It appears that the City can accommodate this allocation based on existing land use capacity but will be further analyzed in the update of the Housing Element.

Please contact Rachel Cohen at with any questions or comments regarding the Housing Element update.

2020 Affordable Housing Nexus Study

The Housing Major City Goal for the 2019-21 Financial Plan included a work scope and action plan to complete an Affordable Housing Nexus Study to evaluate the current nexus between new commercial and residential development and the City’s requirements for affordable housing embodied in its Inclusionary Housing Requirements (SLOMC 17.138). The last time a study was completed was in 2004. In April 2020, staff presented the 2020 Affordable Housing Nexus Study to the City Council.

2020 California Housing Legislation Update

The 2019 California Legislative Session ended with over 30 new bills in response to the State’s worsening housing crisis. Several of these bills are designed to increase housing production by easing development regulations, compelling jurisdictions to make fee and land information readily available to potential developers, and impose new ongoing reporting and inventory requirements for local jurisdictions. Recently staff provided an update to City Council and a link to the staff report and legislation summary can be found here. The following table displays the bills discussed in the update and includes links to the corresponding bill text:


Bill Title

Bills Removing Barriers to Boost Housing Production

SB 330 – Housing Crisis Act of 2019 and Changes to Permit Streamlining Act & Housing Accountability Act

AB 1763 – Density Bonuses for Affordable Housing

AB 1743 – Eligibility of Property Welfare Exemptions

AB 116 – Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts

Surplus Land Databases and Reporting Requirements

AB 1486 / SB 6 / AB 1255 – Expansion of Surplus Land Act and Reporting

AB 1483 – Housing Data Collection and Reporting

Requirements for Accessory Dwelling Units

AB 68 / AB 881 / SB 13 – Modifications to Increase Accessory Dwelling Unit Development

AB 587 – Sale of Accessory Dwelling Units

AB 670 – Construction of Accessory Dwelling Units in Common Interest Developments

AB 671 – Affordable Accessory Dwelling Unit Program Creation

Established “Uses by Right”

AB 101 – Housing and Homelessness Budget and Regulations

SB 234 – Keeping Kids Closer to Home Act

Related Housing Element Laws from 2017 Housing Package

SB 166 – “No Net Loss” Law